The franchise exhibitions are a critical part of a would-be franchisee’s research, Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association, says
When you’re considering building your own business as a franchisee, there are a number of options to help you choose the right brand. These include online tools and guidelines, professional advice and educational seminars.
Completing your research and finalising your due diligence before committing to a particular franchise is important. There are numerous franchise opportunities within the UK with territories available nationwide. Some are British Franchise Association accredited, some are not.
The franchise exhibitions, exclusively supported by the bfa, should not be overlooked when considering franchising.
Taking place in different cities throughout the year, they help to bring franchisors and prospective franchisees together in a neutral and casual environment.
Making initial contact with a franchisor can seem intimidating, as you’ll not yet know about its recruitment process, timescales or the expectations the franchisor may have.
A good franchisor will take the time to ensure it has a good understanding of you, your skills and weaknesses, even the support you have at home. This can cause prospective franchisees to delay making the necessary enquiries to determine whether business ownership as a franchisee would fit their goals.
These initial enquiries are a twoway street, as franchisors expect you to ask them the hard questions, ask to see evidence, speak to existing franchisees and research what other opportunities are out there.
This is the only way you can be sure you’re choosing the business and franchisor that best suits you. Completing your due diligence also assures the franchisor that you’re committed to joining its brand.
Franchise exhibitions provide prospective franchisees with a fantastic opportunity to meet a variety of franchisors and professional advisors all in one place.
This can reduce the stress of speaking to a franchisor for the first time. The tone is conversational and the atmosphere light - the franchisor is just as keen to make a good impression on you as you are on them.
As well as providing you with an opportunity to meet franchisors face to face, professional advisers also host stands at the exhibitions, so a single day out can see you leaving with valuable insight from industry experts.
There are also a variety of seminars hosted by the bfa and other exhibitors during these two-day events, covering topics such as borrowing money and real franchise stories.
To take full advantage of your time at an exhibition, we suggest familiarising yourself with the show guide before you go.
With so many brands present, it’s a good idea to prioritise which brands you most want to meet and what seminars you would like to attend. This will enable you to effectively plan your visit.
Prepare for your conversations with the brands you’re interested in by completing some research on them ahead of the show. This will enable you to ask more in-depth questions on their proposition and leave with a better understanding of their business and whether it would suit you.
As a final note, be careful not to pigeonhole yourself based on your previous employment.
Franchising is great because you don’t have to stick to what you already know. Franchisors will provide full training on their business model as part of the initial franchise set up, enabling you to consider new sectors to work in.